IGL Trials Database

IGL curates a database with randomised controlled trials in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. Browse our list of topics, see it as a map, or use the search function below.

2022
Catalini, C., Oettl, A., Roche, M.P.

We examine the influence of physical proximity on between-startup knowledge spillovers at one of the largest technology co-working hubs in the United States. Relying on the random assignment of office space to the hub's 251 startups, we find that proximity positively influences knowledge spillovers as proxied by the likelihood of adopting an upstream web technology already used by a peer startup.

2022
Crusan, J., Lakhani, K., Lane, J., Menietti, M., Szajnfarber, Z.

Resource allocation decisions play a dominant role in shaping a firm’s technological trajectory and competitive advantage. Recent work indicates that innovative firms and scientific institutions tend to exhibit an anti-novelty bias when evaluating new projects and ideas. In this paper, we focus on shedding light into this observed pattern by examining how evaluator expertise in the problem’s focal domain shapes the relationship between novelty and feasibility in evaluations of quality for technical solutions.

2022
deGrazia, C., Pairolero, N., Pappas, P.-A., Teodorescu, M., Toole, A.

Women are underrepresented as inventors on U.S. patents (Toole et al. 2019, Toole et al. 2020). Although the gender gap is closing over time, it is not closing quickly. This suggests that there is a role for policy to help reduce invention and commercialization barriers for women. However, the potential effectiveness of policies to address this issue are unclear, primarily because the underlying causes of the gender gap are complex and not well understood. Recent research has begun to cast light on this issue (Whittington 2005; Ding et al. 2006; Murray and Graham 2007; Colyvas et al.

2022
De Oliveira, P.

The study investigates the role of information constraints and behavioral biases in the under-adoption of key business practices by micro-enterprises in Brazil. We combine a randomized control trial with online surveys to study these questions.

2022
Carson, R., Graff Zivin, J.S., Louviere, J., Sadoff, S., Shrader Jr, J.G.

This experiment tries to understand how managers respond to uncertainty when making research and development decisions. Three experiments were conducted with master’s degree students in a program focused on the intersection of business and technology.

2020
Drummond, I., Jibril, H., Roper, S., Scott, D.

Cavendish Enterprise's Business Boost trial project involved providing young small firms - typically micro-businesses - with a treatment involving a series of workshops designed to enhance productivity. This was provided largely as a top-up to an advice and mentoring programme called 'Start and Grow'. The project was part of the government's Business Basics Programme which has the core aim of identifying cost effective, yet productivity enhancing, programmes of business support for SMEs which can be run at scale throughout the country.

2020
Ganguli, I., Gaule, P., Guinan, E., Lakhani, K., Lane, J.

We investigate how knowledge similarity between two individuals is systematically related to the likelihood that a serendipitous encounter results in knowledge production. We conduct a field experiment at a medical research symposium, where we exogenously varied opportunities for face-to-face encounters among 15,817 scientist-pairs. Our data include direct observations of interaction patterns collected using sociometric badges, and detailed, longitudinal data of the scientists' postsymposium publication records over 6 years.

2020
Gallus, J., Jung, O.S., Lakhani, K.

This paper explores what might motivate employees to participate in internal crowdsourcing, a peer-based approach to innovation.

2020
Gray, G., Guinan, E., Lakhani, K., Lane, J., Menietti, M., Ranu, H., Teplitskiy, M.

This paper investigates the role of information sharing among experts as the driver of evaluation decisions.

2020
Graff Zivin, J., Lyons, E.

This paper compares how two common incentive schemes affect innovative performance in a field experiment run in partnership with a large life sciences company.

2019
Boss, V., Ihl, C., Dahlander, L., Jayaraman, R.

Organizations constantly strive to unleash their entrepreneurial potential to keep up with market and technology changes. To this end, they engage employees in practices like corporate crowdsourcing, incubators, accelerators or hackathons. These organizational practices emulate independent “green-field” entrepreneurship by relinquishing hierarchical control and granting employees autonomy in the choices of how to conduct work.

2019
Muehlfeld, K., Rigtering, C., Weitzel, U.

Individual-level opportunity recognition processes are vital to corporate entrepreneurship. However, little is known regarding how managerial communication impacts the effectiveness of idea suggestion systems in stimulating individuals' participation in intrapreneurial ideation. Integrating self-determination theory, creativity, and framing research, we theorize how different ways of inviting employees to submit proposals (opt-out/opt-in registration; provision of examples) affect the number and quality of submitted ideas.

2019
Bapna, S., Ganco, M., and Qiu, L.

User entrepreneurs are responsible for the most important innovations in many industries, but little research has explored the performance of firms founded by user entrepreneurs. While user entrepreneurs have a deep knowledge of customer needs that facilitates the identification of innovative solutions, they tend to lack the relevant business knowledge (e.g., market, production, operational and organizational) to successfully exploit opportunities and grow their ventures.

2018
Graff Zivin, J., Lyons, E.

Existing theories and empirical research on how innovation occurs largely assume that innovativeness is an inherent characteristic of the individual and that people with this innate ability select into jobs that require it. In this paper, we investigate whether people who do not self-select into being innovators can be induced to innovate, and whether they innovate differently than those who do self-select into innovating.

2018
Ebert, C., Prabhu, J., KC, R.

This study explores how individuals develop habitual perspectives from repetitive tasks they enact over time, and how these deeply ingrained habits of perspective influence creativity. Further, this study proposes that habits of perspective are resistant to the creativity-stunting effect of financial incentives.

2018
Aghion, P., Bechtold, S., Cassar, L., Herz, H.

We design two laboratory experiments to analyze the causal effects of competition on step-by-step innovation. Innovations result from costly R&D investments and move technology up one step. Competition is inversely measured by the ex post rents for firms that operate at the same technological level, that is, for neck-and-neck firms. First, we find that increased competition leads to a significant increase in R&D investments by neck-and-neck firms.

2018
Thompson, N., Hanley, D.

As the largest encyclopedia in the world, it is not surprising that Wikipedia reflects the state of scientific knowledge. However, Wikipedia is also one of the most accessed websites in the world, including by scientists, which suggests that it also has the potential to shape science. This paper shows that it does. Incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature.

2017
Catalini, C., Tucker, C.

In October 2014, all 4,494 undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were given access to Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency. As a unique feature of the experiment, students who would generally adopt first were placed in a situation where many of their peers received access to the technology before them, and they then had to decide whether to continue to invest in this digital currency or exit. Our results suggest that when natural early adopters are delayed relative to their peers, they are more likely to reject the technology.

2017
Atkin, D., Chaudhry, A., Chaudry, S., Khandelwal, A.

This article studies technology adoption in a cluster of soccer-ball producers in Sialkot, Pakistan. We invented a new cutting technology that reduces waste of the primary raw material and gave the technology to a random subset of producers. Despite the clear net benefits for nearly all firms, after 15 months take-up remained puzzlingly low.

2017
Breinlich, H., Donaldson, D., Nolen, P.J., Wright, G.C.

We present novel evidence from the results of a randomized controlled trial on the role that information plays in the perceptions of the benefits and costs of exporting. We first present results from a baseline survey of approximately 1,000 UK manufacturing firms to show that non-exporters hold substantially more negative beliefs about the costs and benefits of exporting relative to exporters.

2017
Bechtold, S., Engel, E.

U.S. intellectual property law is firmly rooted in utilitarian principles. Copyright law is viewed as a means to give proper monetary incentives to authors for their creative effort. Many European copyright systems pursue additional goals: Authors have the right to be named as author, to control alterations and to retract their work in case their artistic beliefs have changed. Protecting these “moral rights” might be justified by the preferences of typical authors.

2017
Khashabi, P., Heinz, M., Zubanov, N., Kretschmer, T., Friebel, G.

It is well-established that the effectiveness of pay-for-performance (PfP) schemes depends on employee- and organization-specific factors. However, less is known about the role of external forces. Investigating the role of market competition on the effectiveness of PfP, we theorize that there are two counteracting effects – business stealing and competitor response – that jointly generate an inverted U-shape relationship between PfP effectiveness and competition.

2017
Del Carpio, L., Guadalupe, M.

This paper investigates whether social identity considerations and norms may be driving occupational choices by women.

2017
Boudreau, K., Brady, T., Ganguli, I., Gaule, P., Guinan, E., Hollenberg, T., Lakhani, K.

Search costs continue to powerfully shape (and limit) the formation of collaborations between scientists. Formation of collaborations appears
to be highly sensitive to information-rich face-to-face interactions, which existing communications technologies may not sufficiently substitute.

2017
Blasco, A., Jung, O., Lakhani, K.R., Menietti, M.

We report results of a natural field experiment conducted at a medical organization that sought contribution of public goods (i.e., projects for organizational improvement) from its 1200 employees. Offering a prize for winning submissions boosted participation by 85 percent without affecting the quality of the submissions. The effect was consistent across gender and job type. We posit that the allure of a prize, in combination with mission-oriented preferences, drove participation.

2016
Boudreau, K., Lakhani, K.

Field experiments have the potential to provide unambiguous causal evidence on innovation topics while simultaneously assisting organisations with their innovation.

2016
Bechtold, S., Buccafusco, C., Sprigman, C. J.

All creativity and innovation build on existing ideas. Authors and inventors copy, adapt, improve, interpret, and refine the ideas that have come before them. The central task of intellectual property (IP) law is regulating this sequential innovation to ensure that initial creators and subsequent creators receive the appropriate sets of incentives. Although many scholars have applied the tools of economic analysis to consider whether IP law is successful in encouraging cumulative innovation, that work has rested on a set of untested assumptions about creators’ behavior.

2016
Boudreau, K., Guinan, E., Lakhani, K., Riedl, C.

This paper focuses on the evaluation of frontier scientific research projects and argues that the intellectual distance between the knowledge embodied in research proposals and an evaluator's own expertise systematically relates to the evaluations given.

2016
Boudreau, K., Lakhani, K., Menietti, M.

In the context of online developer tournaments this study found that added rivalry is likely to induce higher performance given that failing to exert effort will reduce the likelihood of winning a prize. Tournament organizers can leverage contest size, dividing competitors by ability, and opening entry to all, as policy tools to manipulate the performance of competitors, particularly when changes allow the reallocation of prize money.

2016
Gallus, J.

This natural field experiment tests the effects of purely symbolic awards on volunteer retention in a public goods context. The experiment is conducted at Wikipedia, which faces declining editor retention rates, particularly among newcomers. Randomization assures that award receipt is orthogonal to previous performance. The analysis reveals that awards have a sizeable effect on newcomer retention, which persists over the four quarters following the initial intervention.

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